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Calcium Supplements Can Save Lives in Pregnant Women – Helps Prevent Premature Child Birth and Lowers Risk of Pregnancy Complications  

March 11th 2006

Calcium Supplements Can Save Lives in Pregnant Women – Helps Prevent Premature Child Birth and Lowers Risk of Pregnancy Complications  

Calcium Supplement

There may be a link between calcium deficiencies and two serious complications during pregnancy, preeclampsia and eclampsia, Preclampsia is the development of high blood pressure and protein in the urine during pregnancy.  Eclampsia is a life threatening condition that can kill both the mother and child.

Researchers under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO), investigated whether a calcium supplement could reduce the complications and the mortality from these conditions.  They looked at 8,300 women with low dietary calcium and gave half 1.5 gram calcium supplements, while giving the other half a placebo. Before the study all of the women had a daily intake of 600 milligrams or less.  This was about half the recommended intake for pregnant women.   

Although the calcium supplements did not reduce the incidence of preeclampsia, it did lower their "severe preeclamptic complications index" and "severe maternal morbidity and mortality index."  They were less likely to die from the illness. 


The researchers did find that eclampsia and other severe complications including severe gestational hypertension were significantly lower in the women that took calcium.  Also preterm and early preterm delivery (<32 weeks) tended to be reduced among the group.  

The researchers said that women under the age of 20 were at the highest risk of low calcium and complications.  The researchers also noted that overall mortality in the group of women that took the calcium supplements was lower. 


According to Dr. Jose Villar, MD, “This large randomized trial in populations with low calcium intake demonstrates that while supplementation with 1.5 gm calcium/day did not result in a statistically significant decrease in the overall incidence of preeclampsia, calcium significantly decreased the risk of its more serious complications, including maternal and severe neonatal morbidity and mortality, as well as preterm delivery, the latter among young women."

The WHO research is published in the March issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial was performed at antenatal care centers located in Rosario, Argentina; Assiut, Egypt; Nagpur and Vellore, India; Lima, Peru; East London and Johannesburg, South Africa; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Wrtier

Books on Pregnancy

Keywords and misspellings: priatal prenatal pre-natal

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM